Fort Frederica National Monument
6515 Frederica Rd.
St. Simons Island, GA 31522
Visitors to St. Simons Island today love this pristine destination for its many sandy beaches, beautiful marshlands, and small-town island feel. Between the natural beauty, entertainment and atmosphere, St. Simons Island has made a name for itself as a place that promises enchanting encounters, rest and relaxation. But it’s also a place with a rich history and intricate past. Those with a passion for understanding the role of a single city within the context of a larger, historical story will appreciate a stop at St. Simon Island’s Fort Federica National Monument. Before it was a highly-regarded vacation destination, St. Simons Island played an important role in Georgia’s history and the tale is well-preserved at this impeccable national monument.
Turning the Tides of Conflict
The state of Georgia’s official colonial founding in 1733 didn’t mean it was out from under the threat of attack. Fort Frederica was built not long after in an attempt to fend off any aggressive assaults that came from the Spanish residing in nearby Florida. Fort Frederica was conceptualized and designed by General James Edward Oglethorpe, who quickly recognized that Georgia’s location put it directly in disputed land zones battled over between the British and Spanish. The fort was designed over a span of 40 acres of land on today’s St. Simon Island as a fortified military zone that also housed a community safely within its walls. Its strategic island location allowed residents and leaders to keep a close eye on vessels making their way towards the coastline. Over 600 troops were stationed at Fort Frederica and their efforts at keeping the Spanish attacks at bay ultimately proved successful and solidified Georgia’s standing as a colony.
Visiting Fort Frederica National Monument Today
Those traveling to St. Simons Island today are encouraged to come and visit one of the best St. Simons Island Attractions that immortalizes the valiant efforts made at Fort Frederica all those years ago. A visit to the site includes an opportunity to take in a 23-minute historical film about the fort at the visitor’s center. Guests can also opt to participate in a ranger-led tour of the fort for a more intimate look at the structure and insightful back stories that bring history to life.
St. Simons Points of Interest
St. Simons Island is a treasured location that conjures up images of both serene oceanfront lounging and rich cultural and ecological history. From beach hopping to delving into the area’s past, St. Simons offers points of interest that cater to a variety of travelers.
Just down the road from Fort Frederica National Monument is the Wesley Memorial & Gardens. While its quaint grounds may not warrant a separate visit, it is well worth a stop while in the area. The monument here is dedicated to the Wesley Brothers, known for their founding of the Methodist Church. Peaceful wooded grounds come alive with vibrant greenery and blooming flowers as visitors follow the path that winds its way to a large Celtic cross tucked in a serene tree-filled setting. With a scattering of benches along the way, this is a peaceful place to spend some time in thought or to simply take in the serenity of nature, especially when the azaleas are in bloom.
Discover more opportunities to enjoy nature at the Cannon’s Point Preserve, approximately a 10-minute drive to the north. This primitive wilderness experience is staffed by volunteers who employ a love of conserving the local land. A combination of paved and dirt paths weave their way throughout the preserve, under moss-covered branches and alongside picturesque marshland. Covering over 600 acres and linked to the lower Altamaha River Delta, the land at Cannon’s Point Preserve encompasses salt marshes, tidal creeks and river shorelines that provide habitats for wildlife such as oysters, birds, fish, and manatee. Visitors to the preserve can take part in a variety of activities, including hiking, biking, birding, photography, kayaking, and viewing historic ruins. To enhance the historic and ecologic significance of the area, interpretive signage is posted along the trails, providing informative stopping points. Those interested in a longer trek and viewing historic ruins can complete the 5-mile round trip journey to view plantation house ruins that are more than 200 years old. With few amenities onsite, visitors should bring plenty water, snacks, and mosquito spray, and be sure to leave only footprints behind.
Whether you spend your days enjoying the ocean and its many water activities or delving into the area’s rich ecology and history, your vacation in St. Simons is bound to be memorable. Be sure to select an unforgettable St. Simons vacation rental that you’ll look forward to returning to at the end of each day!